GE: 25 things that may need to be more transparent?

I refer to the reports “GE: When the storm hits us, whom do you trust? asks PAP’s Foo Mee Har” (Channel News Asia, Apr 30)
and “GE: S’pore government is open and not afraid to tell the truth, says DPM Wong” (Channel News Asia, Apr 24).

The latter states that “Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng said the government is open and is not afraid to tell the people the truth or learn from mistakes”.

In the interest of transparency and accountability, I would like to cite the following which in my view may be somewhat lacking in Singapore:-

Mas Selamat1)The Mas Selamat Committee of Inquiry of three persons were appointed by the Home Minister, with one member from his ministry. Parts the Committee’s report were not made public.


2)No breakdown of the labour, employment and unemployment statistics into Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs).

3)Why did the Ministry of Manpower decline to reveal the number of foreigners who have been given the ‘pass’ to stay in Singapore to look for employment?

4)How many foreign university interns work in a year in Singapore? This category does not need to meet any of the foreign worker quota policies.

5)What percentage of the jobs in the two integrated resorts (IRs) are Singaporeans?


6)The rejection rate of Singaporeans who apply for Medifund because they could not pay for their medical bills, has never been disclosed. The Ministry of Health discloses yearly, the number of successful applications (number of times), but not the number of patients who were rejected.

7)Singapore’s Standard Drug List is not made public. If made public, we may know what drugs are non-subsidised.

8)Does Medishield make a profit? What is the surplus if any?

9)How many people who are discharged from hospital were unable to pay their medical bills?


10)The breakdown of the costs of building HDB flats.

11)HDB Annual Reports’ ‘applications for financial assistance approved’ statistics, have disappeared from its 2005/2006 Annual Report onwards.

12)How many HDB bank loans are in arrears over three months?

13)How many HDB bank loans have been foreclosed by banks?

14)How many foreigners and PRs in total are staying in SERS (Selective En-bloc Re-Development Scheme) HDB flats, former JTC, SIT, etc, flats as rental tenants?

15)How many Singaporean siblings below 35 successfully applied to buy HDB resale flats under the former ‘siblings’ policy which was terminated in March 2011. How may PR siblings have successfully applied?

16)How many HDB households were unable to pay their Service and Conservancy Fees (S&CC) in a year?

17)How many have been charged in court for not paying, in a year?


18)Total number and proportion of undergraduate and post-graduate foreign and PR students in the total population of NUS, NTU and SMU.


19)How many families have ever successfully applied for financial assistance historically, under Comcare?


20)How many self-employed are in arrears on their compulsory Medisave contributions?

21)Why is the actuarial study done on CPF Life not made public? How do we know what assumptions and methodology are being used in the computations and projections in the scheme?


22)Why are the contracts between the suppliers of natural gas and power generation companies confidential?


23)How much arms and military related supplies have we sold to Burma?

Changi airport

24)How much will Temasek pay for Changi airport, as I believe this amount was not discussed in the Parliamentary debate on the corporatisation of the airport?


25)Singaporeans have never been told what is the amount of our reserves?
In the ChannelNewsAsia report –
“Mrs Lim (Hwee Hua, Minister of State for Finance) said: “You asked how much reserves we have. I’m sorry – I am not able to give you that answer. There are many, many people who are interested in how much we have. It has nothing to do with not wanting Singaporeans to know. It’s only if we go public with you, a lot of other people will know.””

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.